Post-Covid Road Trip: Springfield, Ohio Antique Market -The Haulers

Due to Covid 19, I haven’t been  out of the state of Michigan since February 2020, when I flew to New York for a quick business trip. Its a fair statement that with all the lock down and endless bad news, at least for me, I’ve been in a bit of a funk.  Being fully vaccinated, we decided to take  a journey recently to do some antiquing around Springfield, Ohio with some dear friends.  The ride to and from the area on U.S. Route 68 , beginning in Findlay, was very pleasant through small town Ohio.

Do any kids build model kits anymore?

A cousin is in the estate sale business (still is at 79), so I grew up being around events like this.  How can you not have a bit of fun , even if you’re not into collecting as a hobby? Hard to find a person in a bad mood here.   I’m sure the fairgrounds wasn’t as crowded as pre-Covid times, but it was well attended. In this part of the country, in mid-April you never know what you’re going to get. Could be 70 degrees or it could be 40 and freezing rain. The weather was great  and around mid-day our jackets came off. While it’s always fun to nose around, at this point in my life, I’m much more interested in purging and thinning the herd of possessions than accumulating. While I wasn’t bored by any means, my eyes soon drifted toward the conveyances of the vendors  and how they transported all their wares to the show, and they were as varied as the often eccentric vendors and show attendees themselves.

No surprise here at all, but Ford was the clear winner here as the hauler of choice, old and new. The sales charts year in and year out bear this out, and the Econoline and Transit were by far the most popular rig,  and yes, most often in white.


Which isn’t to say Chevy’s cannot get it done or were rare on this day. The top one is a 1977 and aside from some patina, was super solid and the female owner said she’d drive it anywhere. The long wheelbase Chevy/GMC’s are a great choice and you’d like to think with the 20+ model year run with just incremental changes, it’s probably a decent enough van despite being long in the tooth.

Back in my early working days, our warehouse van fleet was 100% Dodge, and these crusty old mules were around for 20 years, then often were sold to employees who wanted a hauler.  Our fleet buyer back then felt the Dodges’ were superior to the Chevy’s and Fords , with the 318 V-8, virtually un-killable.  And you have to like the ingenuity of the retrofit air conditioning unit on this one for a road show. The last body on frame Dodge vans were built in Windsor, Ontario and production wrapped up in June of  2003.

A used U-Haul or Penske cube van was the choice for some, with the integrated ramp and high roof allowing a lot more cargo room. Have to believe these are quite and well used up by the point of being sold to the general public. That said, I recall hearing someone telling me that used U-Haul’s aren’t terrible as the Company maintains them quite well and has (or had) a very rigid preventative maintenance schedule.  When I moved into my first house 24 years ago, my rental was a particularly gnarly and disagreeable Ford U-Haul , 3 speed, that had to of been 25-30 years old.

Then there were the custom jobbers. This  lady has a traveling Western-chic ladies mobile clothing store in a converted school bus with  a diesel generator going to keep it cool in the summer and to keep the lights on. She gave all the credit for her rig’s configuration to her husband. Next up was him coming up with a built in retractable awning on the side of the truck for much easier set up and take down than the freestanding tent.

In the end, while I bought nothing, the ladies found a few honey holes for their passions: all things mid-century modern  and vintage Pyrex, and they were well pleased.  It was great to be somewhere not in the 248 area code for a spell. In the end, I think this trip was just what I needed.